Adi-Yoga and Asana Adjustments
As an instructor, I need to ask myself why I have the urge to make a physical adjustment. Do I think I know what’s best for that person? Why do I need to see this person’s body open up within the span of their time with me? That hour they spend with me is only one on a continuum of their whole life – so many factors have gone into building their body, creating the patterning they express. This is a highly individualized experience. The techniques of Yoga are scientific in that they can be universally applied by human beings for a known result; but the path that takes each of us to that result is as unique as our karmic make-up.
Another consideration is the way in which a physical touch from outside might actually draw one out of one’s inner experience. Adi-Yoga is deeply focused on awakening sensation in the body, and deepening our awareness of our moment-to-moment energy state. When we sense a part of our body ourselves, this is a much higher-functioning state of consciousness than when we have someone else draw our attention there.
Many Yoga practitioners are used to practicing in spaces without a mirror. The absence of a mirror allows the individual to develop an inner sense of alignment, rather than simply trying to visually match a structure. In more “yogic terms” we forgo a mirror in order to develop our alignment from inside out, rather than from outside in.
In Adi-Yoga, we consider a physical adjustment to function like that mirror – another method of alignment from the outside in. In fact, it comes from even further outside than the mirror, because it begins with the instructor’s visual perception of one’s asana rather than one’s own perception. While one’s perception may be off in the beginning, the path of moving to a place of clear seeing is the path of yoga. When we adjust from outside, we may deprive someone of part of that process.